Cops Use Facebook to Bust Bragging Criminals

Here's a tip: If you steal something, don't brag about it on your personal profile

A note to all current and prospective criminals: If you plan on robbing someone’s jewelry, don’t post a picture of yourself showing off that jewelry on Facebook.

NYPD detectives have been using social-networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace as a crime-fighting tool, busting up drug rings, gangs, solving sexual assaults, and finding stolen goods, according to the New York Post.

"It's almost become unfair," said a law-enforcement source to the Post. "Facebook and MySpace are killing these guys."

One criminal, James Roberts, a convicted thief out of Manhattan, was found on MySpace showing off a ring that cops say he robbed from a man at a Chelsea bus stop a day earlier.

“This guy's boasting, 'I've got new bling!” said a police source.

When the detectives found the photo, they showed it to the victim, who was quickly able to identify the stolen ring. Roberts, along with a partner, Darryl Calier, were both arrested and convicted of robbery, and were sentenced to five years in prison.

Another criminal, Crown-Heights based drug dealer Tyrell “Handsome Rell” Blue, was convicted of multiple counts of selling narcotics using a photo on his MySpace page of him holding a wad of cash and claiming that he made $250,000 a year as evidence.

Some units even have individuals dedicated to the social-networking element of crime-fighting. For example, Kevin O'Connor, a lieutenant with the Manhattan North Gang Intelligence unit is considered a social-media expert who combs through Twitter and other sites for clues about turf wars and suspects, the Post says.

And such tactics are apparently working rather well in identifying suspects -- from your average street criminal to gang members.

"You can find a lot of gangs on MySpace; they actually have their own sites," one investigator told the Post. "They put a lot of stuff out there."

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